Human beings require movement. Just as we reach the end of one motion, we have already started planning the next. If we are stopped, we figure out a way to go again. If we truly must be still, then we need to socialise, which is, in and of itself, movement of another type. And even when we are at our most powerless in provoking ourselves onward, that most beautiful organ, the human brain picks up the pace for the sake of progress. Immovability is an existential crisis. Our ontologies are quickly made inadequate before reality and the uncomfortable chill of panic looms heavy. This has been a refreshed, but definitely not a refreshing, experience for us recently as a consequence of the coronavirus. A lesson we can all take from our collective trauma under the Covid-19 global pandemic. We keep repeating the line that ‘we are all in this together,’ but can we look away from the mirror? This discomfort we all feel must couple with various headlines and platitudes that are all pointing to, and rather verbosely, the fact that things are not right. There have been indicators along the way and we have all picked up on them in one way or another.But we paid only slight attention to them and allowed them to be normalised. The grinding halt of the world before the virus gave us the whiplash that primes an individual for learning, but our inability to put a face on the problem gives power to our devices of normalisation. After all time keeps moving and so ought we.
The clock keeps ticking and the present carries on. The virus shines a light on many trends established prior to the pandemic – racism endemic to societies all around the world, existential fears that drive dehumanising identity politics or hateful xenophobia, and the horrific inequalities our global economic systems readily perpetuate. Anyone who is different or foreign was libelled to bring this disease into our homes. Chinese and Asians around the world found themselves again on the receiving end of a familiar tune. Muslims around the world were targeted by wayward conspiracy theories which, of course, is not a new phenomenon. But because a mosque gathering turned into a super spreader event, it has to be rationalised that all mosques everywhere were hives of infectivity. There are no clear statistics for the number of migrant workers who have been victims, both directly and indirectly to the disease since most countries don’t count them as actual people. Therefore, it is deemed acceptable to pay them less and stick them in accommodations we barely deem tolerable for prisoners. Close confinement, poor sanitation and without the PPE to spare beyond those who can afford it. What did we expect, that our lack of acknowledgement would keep them safe? The United States demonstrated nicely how withholding acknowledgement of reality works out in the end. And suffering with the migrant worker, abandoned to die far from home, are the poor, who never had a chance from the start, abandoned to die without a home in their homelands. While millions joined the ranks of the unemployed and impoverished, those already below our dramatically underestimated poverty lines, sunk deeper into pre-existing inequalities without anything to grab onto and maybe pull themselves back up with. The circumstances left available to the global poor only made them prime targets on the pandemic’s warpath.